Ferrari will revisit hypercar territory in late 2012 when it replaces the awesome Enzo supercar with a new top-end sports car. Project F150 mates an 800bhp V12 to a 120bhp electric motor - the age of the hybrid supercar is nearly upon us.
How time flies. It's been ten years already since Ferrari launched the Enzo and rewrote the sportscar rule book. In the course of that last decade, we have seen a glut of new supercars such as the Bugatti Veyron, Koenigsegg CCXR, Apollo Gumpert - not to forget high-performance Ferraris like the 599XX, the Milechili Concept and the FXX track-only special.
Next in line from Maranello is project F150, a stunning new high-tech coupe which has got what it takes to be a worthy successor to icons of the 250 GTO, 388 GTO, F40, F50 and Enzo ilk.
Ferrari's new Enzo: project F150
Originally, F150 was scheduled to debut at the 2012 Paris motor show. But due to full order books and an R&D department that is bursting at its seams, Ferrari has recently revised its launch schedule.
In Paris, we are now going to see the 458 Challenge. While the debut of F150 has been put back to spring 2013, the facelifted California (F149M) is expected to be unwrapped at 2013's Frankfurt show.
Ferrari F150: the lowdown
The still-nameless new supercar (it will definitely not be badged Enzo) is much more radically proportioned than any other street-legal two-seater. Dramatically low and neither as wide nor as long as, say, a Koenigsegg or a Pagani Huayra, the new Ferrari looks more like a silhouette F1 racer with a sculptured streamlined body.
Strong aerodynamics are absolutely essential in this segment - not because the F150 sets out to eclipse the 217mph top speed of the 599XX, but because of the crucial ground effect air flow which provides proper suction-cup roadholding.
'Aerodynamics equal efficiency,' explains Flavio Manzoni, the man who heads a team of 20 designers and 12 modellers. 'Efficiency does not only mean a low drag coefficient and a relatively small frontal area. Efficiency also warrants exceptional high-speed stability, which is a key confidence-inspiring characteristic. The art of aerodynamics is to create a slippery shape which produces exactly the right amount of downforce in all driving conditions.'
The aero package on next Ferrari Enzo
Means to this end include the chiseled low-flung zero-lift front end design, the nearly flat undertray and the integrated rear air deflector the effect of which is supported by the F1-style exhaust gas routing. Other drag-cutting addenda are actively ventilated wheelhouses, adaptive brake cooling ducts and selectively blocked engine air intake louvres.
Although the main vehicle structure - a strong monocoque with two integrated subframes - consists mainly of carbonfibre, the F150 incorporates a wide variety of lightweight materials as well as numerous calorie-saving details such as honeycomb supports, sandwich suspension links, hollow spoke wheels and a thinwall exhaust system.
Unlike the Millechili concept, which came very close to the 1000 kilo threshold, the F150 is said to tip the scales at 1250kg, thereby undercutting the Enzo by about 100 kilos. This is mainly due to the innovative hybrid drivetrain which incorporates the battery pack, an electric motor and the performance electronics.
The hybrid Ferrari
The part-time energy kit delivers 120bhp and 221lb ft, sources say. The prime source of propulsion is of course a normally aspirated 7.3-litre V12 which develops a claimed 800bhp, thereby equalling the output of the Enzo-baserd FXX introduced in 2005.
The aggregate torque of 737lb ft is adminstered by a dual-clutch transmission, a modified F1-trac differential and an upgraded black box.
No, F150 won´t be quite as fast as a Bugatti Veyron. But considering the favourable power-to-weight ratio and the considerable on-demand KERS acceleration boost, the new limited-edition Ferrari should at least be able to outsprint its rivals. In addition, its CO2 footprint is bound to be significantly greener than similar supercar concepts, with the possible exception of the Porsche 918 Spyder.